To stretch their hamstrings and calves, senior Serajh Esmail, junior Jaelan Trapp, sophomore Steven Wang, freshman Kyra LaFitte and seventh grader Cash Taylor do high knees over hurdles during a track and field practice.
SEASON UPDATE: Twelve new members bring in glory for track and field
With more than 12 members, the track and field team is larger than it has been for a long time – especially compared to last year, when only senior Serajh Esmail, who was hurt for most of the season, participated.
The larger size has made the sport better for both team members and coach Nick Domich.
Domich said that his schedule at meets is much more active now.
“With two or three athletes who only run two events each, there (was) a lot of dead time where I (had) nothing to do for 20 to 60 minutes between my runners’ events,” Domich said.
“But with more athletes doing three to five events each meet, I am always busy.”
Moreover, with so many members, events like relays are now possible.
Freshman Heidi Johnson said that it’s motivating to have teammates competing in the same event.
And junior Anny Schmidt said running with teammates helps her as a first-year member.
“When there’s someone else from our school running in the same heat as me, I feel better knowing that there’s someone there who I can talk to right before and after the heat,” she said.
“It also feels good when someone else on the team does well, even when you don’t.”
Johnson said the team also has more fun in the time spent between events.
“You can hang out with your team members during the long periods of down time,” she said.
“You also meet some people you wouldn’t have otherwise.”
Domich agreed with Johnson, saying that meets go by much faster for the competitors when there are classmates to talk to.
Sophomore Annya Dahmani said it’s great to have moral support.
“It’s nice having people watch you run and cheer you on,” she said.
Sophomore Steven Wang agreed.
“You feel like you are competing for your school (instead of just for yourself),” he said.
Domich said the increase in members is due to a variety of reasons.
“Some freshmen ran in middle school for me, and (Annya and sophomore Katia Dahmani) switched from soccer to track and field, which brought in some other girls like (sophomore) Yasmin (Gupta), Anny and (sophomore) Nina (Dym),” he said.
“After Steven and (freshman) George (Nguyen) told their friends about track, they wanted to join.”
Johnson said that the downside to the large team is busy practices, since the middle- and high-school teams practice together, but Annya said it’s nice not being the only one practicing.
“You can help each other be better athletes,” she said.
As for the future, Domich said that he has no expectations. However, with a group largely composed of sophomores and freshmen, the prospects are optimistic.
—By Mohini Rye
This article was previously published in the print edition, April 26.